When a deposition begins, witnesses that are represented or prepared by an attorney will usually be rather tight lipped. This happens as the witness remembers instructions from the lawyer telling them to answer the question as concisely as they an and say nothing more.
What the questioning attorney will try to do is to make the witness forget what they were told by the opposing counsel and get them to start responding like a normal human. This is actually easy for them to accomplish, as for most people, giving short answers isn’t in their nature.
The questioning lawyer will do this by starting to ask open ended questions. When the witness stops talking, the lawyer will then ask another open ended question to the witness. By doing this a couple of times, it is possible to get a witness to loosen up and start providing more information than they should.
While this is happening, the opposing lawyer won’t be just sitting there and doing nothing. When the witness is forgetting the instruction not to volunteer any information, the witness’s lawyer will then take a more active role in the deposition. The attorney may tell the witness that they’re not actually answering the question being asked or that they’ve already provided the necessary answer and should stop.
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